I used to think of all things in relation to equations. Particularly, input = proportionate output; outsized rewards for outsized efforts. After years of putting maximum effort into a demanding career in an unforgiving industry, those assumptions were challenged when the economy swallowed up my prospects like it has done to so many others. The experience certainly left me with questions, but after a time I came to wonder if I was asking the right ones.
What do I want? What do I need? How am I going to get it? What if you have the intellectual answers to these questions but not the emotional ones? Pressing further, what does replacing What with a Why do to that neat little equation? Sometimes you’ll bust your ass and get laid off. Sometimes you’ll be in the right place at the right time and reap rewards you didn’t necessarily even ask for.
If you’re brave enough to ask Why instead of just What, that’s probably the beginning of a perilous journey full of plenty of risk and reward. What have I learned so far? I’m a writer, a cynic (who is secretly an optimist), a nerd (you don’t get to consistently pull Lord of the Rings analogies out of the woodwork with impunity), and A Good Citizen (I’m trying my best anyway).
All the rest – they say – is immaterial if you’re looking truthfully for answers, but I’m not sure I agree. The rest is only immaterial if your questions are out of sync with who you actually are.
As thickets and thorns o’plenty exist to befall any soul brave enough to head in a strange direction they’ve never considered before, best to keep your feet and remember; all the small and seemingly insignificant, “immaterial” things that make life worthwhile are happening right now, tomorrow be damned.
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